JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One of the first things that Todd Wash has to do now that he has been retained as the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator -- even before he decides if he's going to continue to run the same scheme or scrap it for a more traditional 4-3 -- is deal with some disgruntled players.
Defensive backs Jalen Ramsey, Tashaun Gipson and Davon House were not happy with the way they were used this past season and didn't hide those feelings after the season finale against Indianapolis. Ramsey and Gipson complained of being limited by the scheme and House was upset that he wasn't playing very much -- but the biggest issue is that Ramsey advocated a clean sweep of the defensive coaching staff.
He almost got his wish because head coach Doug Marrone only retained Wash and defensive assistant Mike Rutenberg.
Some of what the Ramsey, Gipson and House said can be attributed to the frustrations of a 3-13 season, the defense's inability to make key stops late in games, and the fact that defensive backs had just three interceptions (two by Ramsey) this season. Ramsey is only a rookie and still learning how to be a pro, so that was a factor as well.
And the Jaguars did just blow a 17-point lead, too.
Still, it was the biggest public sign that there was some dissension in the locker room and that's something that is significant. Even though the season is over and the players aren't due to return until the offseason conditioning program begins in early April, that must be dealt with immediately because you want players showing up with a clean slate.
There doesn't need to be any resentment that festers over the next three months -- on either side. Heck, Wash may even agree with some -- or all -- of what they said. Maybe he wanted to give Ramsey more freedom and have Gipson take some more chances instead of always playing deep center field to eliminate the explosive plays.
There's no guarantee that Wash will stick with the defensive scheme the Jaguars ran the past four seasons under Bradley, anyway. It's likely that Wash will make significant changes. He may dump the leo, big end and otto and go with a more traditional 4-3 scheme. He may go away from a single high safety and play more Cover 2.
The other issue is what Ramsey said -- and House agreed -- about the coaching staff. He was essentially saying Wash should be fired. That's a something you can't take back, and based on what we've seen of Ramsey's blunt personality this past season he wouldn't take it back anyway. The only thing that softens it is the fact that those comments were coming from Ramsey's desire to win games and hatred of losing. He believes he could have helped the Jaguars win more games had he been used differently.
Regardless, Wash should reach out to all three and clear the air. Maybe even lay down the law a bit -- a there's-a-new-sheriff-in-town kind of thing -- to make sure there's a clear understanding of what will and won't be tolerated. Nothing's more frustrating for a coach to deal with than a player that's pouting.
The Jaguars are on a tight timetable. Owner Shad Khan extended GM Dave Caldwell's contract for two years and gave Marrone a three-year deal through the 2019 season, which makes it clear that the expectations are for the team to be competing for the AFC South title almost immediately.
The Jaguars need more discipline and accountability. It can start with some disgruntled defensive backs.